Monthly Archives: March 2012
Somebody goes with you wherever you go,
Somebody really and truly cares
and lovingly listens to all your prayers …
Don’t doubt for a minute that this is not true,
FOR GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN and takes care of them, too . . .
And all of his treasures are yours to share
If you love Him completely and show Him you care . . .
And if you “walk in His footsteps” and have the faith to believe,
There’s nothing you ask for that you will not receive!
~ Helen Steiner Rice
I have always appreciated this poem. I have come to realize that it isn’t a guarantee that I will get the exact thing I pray for. But it is a reminder that I BELONG TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER, that I have value and worth in His eyes, and that God will fill me with His presence through every storm and struggle as well as beautifully sunny days.
Enjoy basking in His presence ~ Faye
It’s Spring in Iowa. Actually one might even think it’s been Summer with temperatures in the 70s and 80s for over a week instead of 30s and 40s. All of the plants and trees have been budding and bursting forth their beauty. I’ve been working in a garden center and am blessed that the owners allow me pretty much free reign of the property to take photos. Every where I turn something else seems to herald its praises to God.
When I see how God has blessed me throughout my life, how can I keep from shouting His praise? Funny, as I’m writing this, Chris Tomlin’s How Can I Keep from Singing? is playing in the background. God’s timing is so incredible. I turned on Chris Tomlin’s CD this afternoon after I needed a spiritual remake and a lifting up of my spirits. I ran into some people who pretty much are able to only see the glass of life as half empty. They’ve had many difficulties in life, but after talking with them I just felt so sad and sorry for them. When I got home, I knew I could wallow in their self-pity or I could crank up the music and praise God for all He has given to me. These friends have been stuck in the past dreading the changes life offers. Now I don’t like change either, especially when it comes with trials – chronic illnesses, infertility, floods, tornadoes, broken water pipes, health concerns, etc.
But then I look at these beautiful plants and flowering trees. They’ve been hibernating over the Winter after dying off in the Fall just to be able to withstand the harsh winds, snow and ice. Then when the sun comes out, temperatures warm and the Spring rains come, they burst for their glorious color and intricate beauty. Look at this Magnolia blossom, it’s beautiful before it even opens. The white, pinks and purples all gracefully coming out of the base of the bud. There’s not even leaves of the tree when the bud is showing off it’s glory. It doesn’t care if the sky is cloudy and overcast, it’s ready to praise its Maker. It’s not worried about any possibility of weather changes and even the “danger” of frost. It just obeys God’s command to glorify Him.
My heart grieves for these friends who are struggling to see God’s beauty in their lives. I am so grateful to be deeply content in You alone, for You have been there for me through all of the trials and blessings of life. Help me to keep these words in my heart and mind:
How can I keep from singing Your praise? How can I ever say enough, how amazing is Your love? How can I keep from shouting Your name? I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing! ~ Chris Tomlin
So abundantly grateful for the blessing of being able to give praise and glory to God! ~ Faye
I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of love one another because God and Christ love us. Here is the first time that I remember hearing “submit” to one another out of reverence for Christ. I think sometimes it’s easier to love one another (or at least fake loving one another with a semi-sincere love/kindness to them). But this Type A personality has a much harder time submitting, especially when I “know” I’m right. Whether this is to my husband, my boss, a friend, or even God, there is often a discussion at the minimum, and unfortunately especially in the past, there has too often been a heated discussion.
Submitting and surrendering doesn’t mean giving up and walking away. My NLT study notes say: “Submission is not expressed by defensive actions in response to fear.” (Usually not the way I respond, so I think I’m in the clear). Reading further, “Submission is not expressed by a desire for personal gain.” (Rats! That one hits too close to home. I want to be right. I am competitive when it comes to being right. I know I struggle with pride in its many forms and this is probably my chief flaw.) I have hurt so many people in my past by wanting to be right instead of surrendering and submitting to what God wants me to do – whether it is the right or wrong answer.
I was reading John Piper’s message on Ephesians 5:21-33. A few things struck me regarding submission. When we submit to someone out of RESPECT, submission is not a burden but done in the love of God. Piper talks about the perfect harmony that existed when God created man and woman (Genesis 1-3). When sin entered the world that perfect harmony of marriage was ruined “because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness (flattery) in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.”
Perfect submission is to do something that you may not want to do, but you surrender to the act out of respect, love and obedience. This is what Christ did when he laid down His life for the church. He cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take away what Christ faced, yet he ended His prayer with – not My will but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42) Submission is not a forced, coerced, or cowering act. Christ’s at was done out of the purest respect, love and obedience to God.
Submission is a way of honoring and respecting. It’s not ignoring who we are, but doing something in obedience to the way God wants us to treat others. Submission doesn’t mean surrendering who God made you to be. He gave you wisdom and insight, gifts and talents. It doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts and opinions. But it does mean doing so with respect and love for the other person.
Live today in the blessing of being challenged by God’s Word ~ Faye
I was reading through our Maundy Thursday worship service and was just humbled by what Jesus has done for us. The service is first person readings of accounts from Gethsemane to the crucifixion. One portion is Jesus telling how He was praying alone in the garden after leaving Peter, James and John a little farther away to pray. After praying an hour, he returned to find his closest friends asleep instead of praying for Him. Jesus say, “Why now, Father, I need comfort and support from my disciples and Satan lures them into sleep.” After it happens the second time, Jesus is portrayed as thinking, “My Father knew I needed support as I prepared for what was coming. Yet Satan was determined that I should walk this path alone.”
I’ve learned from a lot of people who suffer with chronic illnesses that there are so many times they feel alone. It gets old when someone asks, “How are you doing?” and you have to decide how much to tell them. The meds have changed again. The weather is affecting how your body responds today. You overdid yesterday and you are paying for it today. Dealing with insurance claims and payments are more burdensome. People who used to be close friends have distanced themselves because they don’t know how to help. … The list goes on. These types of thoughts and feelings lead those who are suffering with an incredible feeling of facing life alone. I know, I’ve been there. Fortunately, it’s only been for short periods of time.
I have learned that no one can give me the support and understanding that I need 100% of the time. My husband has job stresses. My daughter is busy with her family. Friends are dealing with their lives. I have learned there is only ONE CONSTANT, and that is God, my Heavenly Father. I’ve shared about the job loss two years ago, and sensing every time I prayed for new clients, a new job, what to do, God kept leading with – WAIT! Two years can go by quickly, but when you are waiting for something and you don’t know what it is, it can be forever. However, when we wait relying on God, we are filled with a calm (that Satan will definitely try to steal) that goes beyond understanding and human logic. Reading this perspective of what Jesus went through and the cry of, “Why now God, when I need You so much, do You seem so distant and my friends can’t support me either?”
Almost every time I’ve had a “waiting from God period” it has turned out to be a blessing that I couldn’t see. God was using that time to prepare me for what was to come. Recently, He showed me that even my obedience in writing this blog has been a learning experience for what is to come on the job He provided 2 years later. I’m bowled over by His planning, providing, leading, preparing. He is the master life-coordinator. If I just surrender to, listen and obey what He is telling me to do, it would happen without so much doubt, pain, frustration, impatience, etc.
I remembered the part of the Holy Week story where Jesus is “abandoned” by God on the cross. Where Christ suffers hell for us. But I guess I hadn’t really thought about His understanding that He knows the pain we feel when answers aren’t coming easily, when friends don’t support us, when family members aren’t there for us, or even when God is silent. He knows our pain and hurt. So He holds us closely when we cry to Him, “How long?” “Why?” “Where are You?” He knows the pain in our heart and empathizes in ways we can never show. When you’re struggling with feelings of being abandoned, alone, unloved, unsupported – run into His loving, open, understanding arms.
Praying you may be filled with God’s peace as you listen and wait for His leading ~ Faye
I’m just back from another worship rehearsal. I thoroughly enjoy the team God has put together for me to serve with. We enjoy spending time working out the kinks before Sunday and not taking ourselves too seriously. We enjoy who God created each of us to be. I recently purchased a beautiful calla lily and had fun taking photographs of it. When I got it home I realized that one of the blossoms was actually “deformed” with a second petal. I had spent about 1/2 an hour taking photos and never saw the flaw. Why? Because I was so captivated by the beauty of the plant from its multicolored leaves to it’s inviting blossoms. God doesn’t care if we sing off key, hit wrong notes on the piano, can’t get the sound system to pick up the guitar, or miss the timing of a slide. God doesn’t care about the little details. God just wants our worship. We were made to serve an Audience of One. Just enjoy praising God with your heart today! I was searching for some quotes on worship and came across these two:
“As John 4:23 says, Its time, as worshipers of God, to give him all we have. For when he is exalted, everything about me is decreased. So many times we stand in the way of really stepping into the secret place of worship with God. Just abandon tradition and the “expected” ways of Praise & Worship and get lost in the holy of holies with the sole intention of blessing the Fathers heart.” Jessica Leah Springer
“When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.” Lamar Boschman
Praying that your heart may be blessed with the fullness of God to lift up your hearts in praise to worship Him! ~ Faye
One of my dad’s favorite bible passage has been Isaiah 40:31. So for sentimental reasons alone, it’s been meaningful to me. I think of it more often because November through March we are blessed with seeing eagles near the river. They are an amazing creature. They can soar without flapping their wings, or take off with just a few strong flaps of their wings, and they are quickly lifted on the air currents. Then they can dive straight down to the river or corn field for their prey. I’ve watched two of them doing their air dance as they mate and play with each other. They never seem to tire when they are enjoying being carried by the wind.
All of Isaiah 40 tells us of the secret of waiting on God, the anticipation and hope of His sending His Son to save us completely from our sins so that we may enjoy the glory of God. Verse 8 reminds us that God’s word will never fail, but it endures forever. Look, it has lasted for thousands of years giving guidance, comfort, encouragement and hope.
Whenever I need a reminder of who God is, verses 12-14 help give me some perspective:Who else has held the oceans in His hand? Who has measured off the heavens with His fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give Him advice or teach Him? Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does He need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach Him what is right or show Him the path of justice?
When I question what God is thinking, in time, in His perfect time, He reveals His plans. I’ve seen it time and time again. (I wish I’d learn, remember and trust Him more quickly.) Recently, God allowed me to see how even in His encouraging and prompting me to write this blog, He was preparing me for something else. It looks like I’ll be able to use some of the skills I’ve learned here with WordPress in my new job. If I had known I’d be taking on this project, I’d have been filled with a lot of stress and anxiety over it. But because God prepared me, in advance of this project, to learn the some of the WordPress blogging process, I’m even more relaxed letting things go to God in prayer. He’s had it all in His plan (Jeremiah 29:11).
I’m being reminded daily that if I resist anxiety and WAIT EXPECTANTLY for God to lead me, I’ll discover strength, resources, joy, hope and unexpected blessings for the journey ahead. I am filled with God’s strength, renewed by His precious words, and encouraged once again to Wait Patiently for God.
Praying God lets you soar in the blessing of His strength ~ Faye
Psalm 148 – What a beautiful Psalm of praise. The Psalmist calls for all of God’s creation to praise the LORD because God is GOD. God is glorious. God has blessed His people. God honors His faithful ones. God desires to have all creation praise and glorify His Holy Name!
Praise the LORD
- from the heavens!
- from the skies!
- all His angels!
- all the armies of heaven!
- sun and moon!
- all you twinkling stars!
- skies above!
- vapors high above the clouds!
Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for He issued His command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.
Praise the Lord
- from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths,
- fire and hail, snow and clouds,
- wind and weather that obey Him,
- mountains and all hills,
- fruit trees and all cedars,
- wild animals and all livestock,
- small scurrying animals and birds,
- kings of the earth and all people,
- rulers and judges of the earth,
- young men and young women,
- old men and children.
Let them all praise the name of the LORD. For His name is very great; His glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made His people strong, honoring His faithful ones – the people of Israel who are close to Him.
Praise the Lord!
I can’t imagine the wonder and awe the writer felt as he penned this Psalm. It reminds me once again of the indescribable awe of God’s majesty, His unfathomable ways, His unconditional love and grace to each one of us, and so much more. We are so incredibly blessed.
Join with me today in the blessing being able to openly and freely Praise the Lord! ~ Faye
It happened again. I was reading in one devotional and it focused on “The Priesthood of Believers.” I was reminded that we used 1 Peter 2:9-10 during our worship service the previous week. The next day I was reading in another devotional, and again, another perspective of what it means to be in the priesthood of Christ. So I figured God was telling me to listen and think about that passage more.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
We are so blessed. We are chosen by God. He calls us into the royal priesthood. In the Old Testament, the priests were the chosen ones who were allowed to go into the Holy of Holies, into the presence of God. They would enter God’s presence behind the curtain in the Temple only once a year. They were responsible for instructing the people in God’s Law and making sure they understood it and cared for the Israelites spiritual health. The priests seemed to have a closer relationship with God because of the tasks given to them by God. The priests cared for the temple, offered sacrifices and prayed to God on behalf of the Israelites. The Israelites had to go through the priests to have a personal relationship with God.
We are blessed since the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross – we are able to come directly before God ourselves. We no longer have to go through the priests. We belong to the priesthood of God. Believers in Jesus Christ are created and called to worship and glorify God. We are encouraged to spend time in God’s Word and grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the LORD. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Romans 8:26 & 27 says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
Because of the blood of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are able to have an intimate, close and personal relationship with the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of the Universe, our Father God. We can approach the throne room of God with boldness and confidence that He will hear us. Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.” We no longer have to have the priests approach God in the Holy of Holies, we can pour out our hearts in prayer directly to God.
Praise God, the one priestly duty we do NOT have to do is perform sacrifices. God did that through the sacrifice of His perfect Son. Jesus Christ died in place of you and me. We are to tell others how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for everyone. And even more praises, we aren’t restricted from God to once a year being in His presence. At the moment Jesus breathed His last, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom! Mark 15:37-38. We are now allowed in His presence daily. We know we are in His presence in church, but He is with us when we are sitting at the desk, walking in His creation, driving down the road, caring for busy toddlers or elderly parents.
Enjoy the blessings of being fully in the presence of God every day ~ Faye
Sources: God’s Word; Charles Stanley, In Touch January 2012; Abundant Blessings, Nancy Guthrie
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the LORD, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
THEN we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ who is the head of His body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together PERFECTLY As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:7-16
We’re in the period of time Christians call “LENT”. We reflect on all the precious gifts we have been given through the priceless sacrifice of Jesus. Christ had to die and rise again so that we could be filled with the spiritual gifts. How wonderful to know that EACH ONE of us has been given unique gifts that fit our personality, life situations, and spheres of influence. We’re not given these gifts to set on a shelf. Rather we are entrusted with these valuable gifts to use them daily to BUILD UP THE BODY OF CHRIST, HIS CHURCH! God’s desire for us is to come together UNITED in our FAITH and that we GROW continually in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wants us to grow up into confident, mature Christians who have Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior.
I like how J. B. Phillips says it, “His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up until the time comes when, in the unity of common faith and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity – that measure of development which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ’.”
For me to come even remotely close to being filled to the fullness of Christ’s standard, means I have a L-O-N-G way to go. I need to be more aware of God through every part of my 24/7 life. I need to be in His word. I need to pray continually to Him. I need to be worshiping and glorifying His name. As the Westminster Catechism says, The chief end of man is to GLORIFY God and ENJOY Him forever. I pray I may keep that in my daily focus.
I’ve just started working in a greenhouse. We are getting ready to open and plants are being delivered daily. I’ve never done this type of work, so am learning how the plants need to be cared for, loved, tenderly planted, warmed, given food and drink. I would just sprinkle them all the same each day. But am learning that each plant, even those of the same variety, is uniquely different with individual needs of its own. The ladies were sharing how they need to “read” the plant so they know whether this one needs more or less water and more or less food.
God made us all unique individuals (Ps. 139 – we are fearfully and wonderfully made). He fills us with spiritual gifts that each one of us needs and can use to build up His church in the unique way and place He has placed us. When you pour out a petunia seed packet, they all look the same, but one will flower white, another red, and another purple. You can’t tell from the seed, but depending how it was created, it will blossom into what God planned it. We need to let God use us so we may be a blessing to others, drawing them closer to God, and reflecting His love and grace.
Praying you may grown more and more like Christ through the spiritual gifts He has given you to share with others ~ Faye